Videos by OutKick
Gary Player has taken aim at LIV Golf. While Player certainly isn’t the first, nor will he be the last critic of the Saudi-backed circuit, his harsh words come from a unique place.
Player is an ambassador for Saudi Golf, which is the organization that pushed the birth of LIV Golf. It’s also an organization with direct ties to the Saudi government’s 2030 initiative, a framework to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and diversify in all facets. LIV Golf is one of the many steps to diversify, especially in the eye of the rest of the world.
The 86-year-old is paid to promote Golf Saudi, and announced in June he’s been hired to design courses in the Kingdom. With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why his harsh comments about LIV Golf can be seen as hypocritical friendly fire.
“How can you ever be a champion playing a tour with 54 holes and no cut? What sort of tour is that,” Player asked during a recent BBC interview. “Fifty-four holes, no cut, a team event nobody understands. It’s a tour for people who don’t have confidence in their future. They don’t have the confidence they can be winners. It’s never going to compare to the regular tour. No chance.”
“They’ve declared war on the PGA Tour,” Player noted. “They must not expect to play in the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup, play in the majors and all those things. You can’t have your cake and eat it. That’s the bed you’ve chosen, that’s the bed you’ve got to lie in.”
These independent contractors can’t have their cake and eat it, but Player sees no issue in him ripping into LIV Golf while simultaneously having direct ties to the Saudis. In no world does that make sense.
This behavior from Player isn’t anything new, he hasn’t exactly been living in reality for quite some time.
Just this spring, when the LIV Golf rumors were really beginning to swirl, Player wore a Golf Saudi logo on his shirt during the Honorary Starters ceremony at the Masters. At the same ceremony in 2021, Player’s son hawked golf balls on the first tee while strategically standing behind Lee Elder. He was banned from the Masters shortly after the embarrassing stunt.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris